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International Programs Committee Sends Letter to World Bank President

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Last week the World Bank’s Spring Meetings drew to a close. It has been less than a month since the World Bank delayed a $90 million loan to Uganda in light of the recently enacted Anti-Homosexuality Act. In a powerful op-ed announcing the delayed loan, Bank President Dr. Jim Kim spoke out against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. 

ReconcilingWorks' Director of International Programs, Philip Moeller, sent Dr. Kim a letter last month in anticipation of this meeting. The text is available here below.

Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President
The World Bank
Office of the President
1818 H Street, NW
Washington, D.C., 20433

Re:  Pulling of Uganda Health Project for Review

Dear President Kim:

Since 1991 I have served as an institutional development consultant to the World Bank, mainly in the infrastructure sector and increasingly working with political economy and social assessment.  Mid-way through this time frame I joined GLOBE and also became the Director of International Programs for ReconcilingWorks, formerly known as Lutherans Concerned/North America.  It is from the perspective of all three "lenses" that I write this letter.

I have been especially pleased to see GLOBE move from a concern for LGBT staff/spousal rights to a consideration of access for the LGBT community to client activities supported by the World Bank, and twice in the last two years I have helped organized workshops on LGBT issues respectively for Spring and Fall bi-annual meetings.  I was especially pleased to be at a supplemental workshop when you took the microphone and gave your support of LGBT advocacy in the context of the development work of the World Bank, saying that "when one goes down the road of social justice one does not go half way.”

Our organization has been especially concerned with the deteriorating situation In Uganda and the implications of the passage of negative legislation in Uganda that would further marginalize and restrict the participation of the LGBT community in health services and a wide range of other services.  We were especially pleased to learn of your decision to pull for review the proposed additional financing for the Uganda Health Project.  This act certainly reflects your previous statement on not going half way down the road of social justice.

We understand the dedication of the World Bank to due process and best practice and know that this will be applied to the review process for the additional financing.  Within that frame we note that there was no commentary on social issues in the original request for additional financing.  We are sure that any further consider of the request would require such discussion.

Along with that discussion we understand that the review would include an assessment of how the recent legislation would affect access to the benefits of the project by the LGBT community.  Clearly consideration must also be given to the impact of this legislation on the staff of the World Bank and any local staff employed under the project in terms of service provision to the LGBT community.  The review would also seem to offer the opportunity to consider sensitivity training for health personnel in general on the issue of health service provision for the LGBT community.

In passing we would also note the recently completed study of the “Cost of Homophobia” for development.  The association of the World Bank with Nordic Support with this study is most commendable, timely, and relevant.  It should be a foundation stone for a new threshold to the portal for LGBT inclusivity.  We applaud this substantive addition to social realism.  We would also note our support for specific targeting of LGBT inclusion in the revision underway of the safeguards of the World Bank.

We want to communicate our support for your decision to call for this review.  We would also underline the fact that there are such faith-based organizations as ours that commend this action and seek full access for the LGBT community in the development process.  This is the essence of a comprehensive base to development.  If any are marginalized on any basis we all are marginalized.  If there are marginalized peoples, poverty cannot be eliminated.

Again, we thank you for your walk along the road of social justice.

Sincerely, 

Philip W. Moeller. PhD.

Director of International Programs, ReconcilingWorks

After more than a decade, the World Bank is now reviewing its safeguard process as a whole, which has led to an opportunity for LGBT to propose a new safeguard that identifies and mitigates potential negative impacts of Bank projects on LGBT individuals, like keeping LGBT families together when displaced by infrastructure improvements. Such a safeguard would make it mandatory for Bank projects to be assessed on their impact on LGBT communities in the region the projects are implemented. 

In many countries across the world, the World Bank funds projects in the health, poverty alleviation, and refugee assistance sectors. Due to laws that criminalize or don’t recognize LGBT citizens, such projects are nearly impossible be accessed by these vulnerable populations. The motto of the World Bank is to “end poverty,” and in a great discussion activists pointed out that the face of poverty are the sexual minorities, the excluded classes, and that lack of equal opportunity to work, to gain access to education, health services, and monetary support results in marginalizing the LGBT community even further. 

Originally reported by Tushar M, HRC Global Engagement Fellow "Spring for Global LGBT Rights: World Bank Spring Meeting Comes to an End"

Minnesota State Senate passes the Safe and Supportive Schools Act

PASSED SafeschoolsThe Minnesota State Senate passes the Safe and Supportive Schools Act! This law will take Minnesota from having the weakest anti-bullying law in the country to the strongest. It provides educators, parents and students with tools and resources they need for bullying prevention and intervention.

Learn more: www.outfront.org/safeschools/bill

For free "allies against bullying" curriculum to use in your congregation visit: http://www.reconcilingworks.org/antibullying

Read more...

Supportive Minnesota Schools Act Scheduled for A Vote This Thursday, April 3

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BREAKING NEWS: Safe & Supportive Minnesota Schools Act Scheduled for A Vote This Thursday, April 3.

Click here to find your senator. Then call or email her/him TODAY and let them know that you support the Safe Schools bill and you want them to vote yes to protect all students from bullying. 

Join us at the Capitol for the vote on Thursday so we can fill the Senate chamber with supporters and let our legislators see the broad-based support for the bill. 

If you have one, wear your Safe School T-shirt! 

Please forward this information to members of your faith community. Ask them for their support by making a call to their legislator or coming to the Capitol. 

We hope to see you at the Capitol on Thursday!

 

Thrivent Neutrality Policy: Resources for Churches

RWKS X ELM X2On February 6, Thrivent Financial implemented a “neutrality” policy that removed ReconcilingWorks and our partner in ministry Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries from its benevolence programs. This decision was made by a small management team, not by the membership or board of Thrivent.

Here is a bulletin insert resource for your congregation to help spread the word and call people to action:

Bulletin Insert - Microsoft Word Document

Bulletin Insert - PDF

Thrivent Giveth and Thrivent Taketh Away

RWKS X ELM X2On February 6, Thrivent Financial implemented a “neutrality” policy that removed ReconcilingWorks and our partner in ministry Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries from its benevolence programs. This decision was made by a small management team, not by the membership or board of Thrivent.

The reason given for the change was our programming focus on sexual orientation which we were told, has “the potential to distract” their members from Thrivent’s mission to promote financial health and inspire generosity.

Read more...

Six Minutes to Make a Difference: ReconcilingWorks at the ELCA Conference of Bishops

I had been waiting for this moment for more than 25 years.

I was pretty relaxed, but praying that the Holy Spirit would guide my words. I only had six minutes.

I wasn't alone. Pastor Jen Rude from Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries and recently ordained Pastor Jason Glombiki sat on the panel with me, addressing the ELCA Conference of Bishops about openly LGBT candidates for ministry.

I thought I'd look out and see stony faces as I spoke. I didn't. Instead, the bishops were interested and engaged.

conference of bishops2They laughed at the right times. They nodded in recognition as we spoke about LGBT candidates whose eligibility may expire because no congregation has yet called them.

Six minutes is a short time to convey the need to support LGBT candidates and to encourage congregations to call them. But those six minutes are already bearing fruit.

Later that day, one bishop told me about the challenges of placing a qualified gay candidate. Instead of giving up, he's getting creative, introducing this future pastor to potential churches through supply preaching.

Six minutes has turned into six days of great conversations. We've been a presence at the Conference of Bishops for years; now we're a resource.

Our presence with the bishops costs about $600/day in travel and staff time.

That's a small piece of the $188,524 we have left to raise before June 30 in our Gifts of Love campaign.

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Encouraged by our work with the bishops, Mike Crandall has extended his matching $10,000 matching gift to March 10th—that's a week away! We are making good progress but still need your help to close the funding gap.

If even one candidate gets a call because of our work here, the expense was more than worth it.

You've got more than six minutes. Let's make a difference together. 

Emily Eastwood

Executive Director
ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation

 

Life at the Intersection | The Last Bastion of Fictional Heterosexuality

Life at the Intersection | The Last Bastion of Fictional Heterosexuality:
Shout OUT to Sam and Collins

Michael Cobbler, Co-Director of Committee for Working at the Intersection of Oppressions

February 28, 2014

Michael Sam and Jason Collins

On this last day on Black History Month, I would like to give a "shout-out" to two athletes - Michael Sam, and Jason Collins. Michael Sam is the University of Missouri graduate and defensive end who announced earlier this month that he is gay. Jason Collins is a NBA center, now playing for the Brooklyn Nets, came out as gay last April.

Life at the Intersection

A commentary written this week by Farrell Evans on ESPN.com speaks to the significance of these declarations. His article, "Black and gay in sports," is a reminder on how far we have come in the reception and acceptance of African-American men in professional sports. While we have indeed come far, however, there is still another barrier to break - and that is drafting an athlete who has come out as gay. As Marcellus Blount, quoted in Evans' commentary, says, "Sports is the last bastion of a kind of fictional heterosexuality. What's at stake here is not questions of sexuality, but that men have to be heterosexual to be athletes."

So on May 8-10, I'm rooting for Michael Sam's name to be called at the National Football League Draft - I'm thinking low third round or high fourth round.  (I checked the post-combine report - he is listed #11 in the defensive end category.) To borrow from one of my favorite childhood books," Green Eggs and Ham," I offer this couplet:

"I do hope that Michael Sam

Becomes a Lion, Bear, or Ram!"

See you at the Intersection!

Michael

Matching Gift Received: Act Now to Double Your Impact

Mike was checking blog posts from his alma mater, when he came across an entry from Jack, a gay student in his first year. The young man had experienced bullying based on supposed “Christian values.” Loneliness and isolation prevailed in his classes and dorm life. Like so many LGBT youth, Jack had trouble reconciling his faith with his sexuality.

Mike remembered that as a young adult, an evangelical Baptist, and closeted gay man at that Christian college, he had endured the same. 

Mike was blessed and courageous. He made his way to Lutheranism, ReconcilingWorks, and an RIC congregation. He knows to his toes what Jack doesn’t that God loves him unconditionally. He also knows the support of his church, something that Jack can only dream about.

Mike Crandell

Mike Crandall
Co-chair

Four out of five Jack’s leave the church when they come out.

We think one is too many.

Mike believes that the ministry of ReconcilingWorks and its outreach to LGBT youth and young adults saves lives and renews faith. His excitement about our ministry has translated into a very generous matching gift of $10,000 toward closing our funding gap of $20,000 by March 3rd. 

Your gift today will be matched dollar for dollar up to that amount. 

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LGBT youth and young adults like Jack find solace, support and courage through our digital outreach. Our following of 16 to 24 year olds find us mostly on Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook. Our ministry through digital media which confirms God’s grace and unconditional love for LGBT people costs $68.38 per day. 

We invite you to join Mike today in making Jack’s dreams of inclusion and yours a reality.

Stay tuned for updates on our progress to meet Mike’s match.

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In gratitude for the abundance with which we are richly blessed.

P.S. How many days of saving ministry to youth and young adults can you give? The Jacks of the world are waiting.

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*The Beginning Funding Gap is calculated by taking the total expenses required to run the organization and subtracting committed grants and pledges. The Balance of the Funding Gap is calculated by taking the Beginning Funding Gap and subtracting funds already received toward that gap.

Anita Peña Saavedra Volunteers with ReconcilingWorks

Anita Pena Saavedra

ReconcilingWorks is incredibly fortunate to have Anita Pena Saavedra volunteer with us in the office for the month of February.

Anita is a Public Administrator, and is studying to receive her masters in Gender Studies and Latin American culture at The University of Chile. Her thesis is about the feminist movement in Chile. She works for www.epes.cla foundation for health promotion in Chile, and also teaches public policy and gender at Andrés Bello National University. Anita also is a teaching assistant for cultural studies, psychoanalysis, literature and gender. Anita considers herself a strong feminist and works frequently with www.nomasviolenciacontramujeres.cl.

"I am a feminist because I feel injustice against women and believe in the social struggle to transform the world," Anita says. "I have dreams for a world without discrimination. I hope all people can be and love with freedom. I wholeheartedly thank you for this opportunity.

Please help us welcome Anita Peña Saavedra to the ReconcilingWorks family! We are grateful for her energy and smile that she brings to our workplace. Thanks may be posted here on facebook.

Do you live in the Twin Cities Area and have volunteer time to gift to our organization? Contact Executive Assistant, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , to learn more about ways you can join in our shared ministry.